Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday Sickness and "The Talk"

If any of you had trouble with eating too much holiday food, I can tell you that I found the secret to avoiding that problem! Get sick over the holidays. Blegh.

That is where I have been. Christmas Eve and day I had a horrible migraine, and then the day after Christmas up until today I have been dealing with a Gawd-awful stomach bug that insisted on stealing any trace of food and water I possibly had in my system. Not fun, suffice it to say.

On the up side (if you can call television-watching an up side), I found an old childhood favorite on Netflix and watched that- in two takes thanks to a much needed nap...

Feel-good family movie... Gotta love it

Also, had the opportunity to see a gorgeous sunset on Christmas Day evening while traveling to see the family. You can't beat a beautiful sunset. :-)

Once again, excuse the blurry camera phone pics. And the big truck that decided to be a camera hog.


Being from a small town, there are certain.... quirks.... That show themselves as one gets older. Such as the fact that because I was not married and popping out kids by 19, there must be something wrong with me. I thought moving to a bigger city would help me avoid this taboo of being in my early twenties and not having at least 2 children already (gasp at the thought!), but there is always the holidays! *sigh*.....

My other half and I have been together now for almost 5 months. Decent dating time, right? Not too serious, but not casual either. Well, I go visit my father (good ol' country boy in the small town, as previously mentioned...) and he asks how long Jonas and I have been dating. I say almost 5 months. The conversation went as follows... (you can be sure to insert the southern accent in your head)

Dad: "5 months, huh? Any chance you'll be making it permanent soon??"
Me: "Dad! I just turned 24. There is still plenty of time and I'm not going to rush it."
Dad: "Well, just checkin. Ya know, I'm not gettin any younger. Mike, my partner at work, already has 5 grandchildren. I'm just sayin..."
Me: *glaring daggers* "Look, I still have plenty of time, and you're not going anywhere. I would think you would want me to take my time and make it a forever thing. Besides, I think you're just wanting to make sure the first grandchild doesn't come from the 18 year old boy (my brother) with the 16 year old girlfriend."
Dad: *coughs and turns the TV volume up*

*Sigh....* Gotta love holidays with the family....

I will be back soon with my New Years post. I will be touching on several different things, as well as hopefully debuting my inspiration board! We shall see. :-)

Ta Ta for now!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Breakfast Cookies and Holiday Randomness!

We shall start off with Muscle Man's favorite...
Breakfast Cookies!!

These little gems are a combination of different ideas I pulled from various blogs and created something that he and I could grab and eat on the run, and still maintain a healthy meal. These babies pack about 20g of protein apiece, taste great, hold you over for a long time, and are great to grab on the go, which we are always in need of. The great thing about these is that they are quick, fairly cheap, easy to make, and it's super easy to make variations because they're really hard to screw up. :-)

To make about 5 cookies:

* 1 cup oats (quick or old fashioned, doesn't matter)
* 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
* 1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
* dash of cinnamon
* handful of raisins or craisins to taste

Put that in a large bowl and stir in about 1/3 cup of milk. Adjust portions however you want, but it should have about the consistency of thick cookie dough at the end. I like to use organic peanut butter or even almond butter, and in these particular ones, Muscle Man threw in craisins, crushed almonds, and chia seeds on top. Also, if I'm in the mood for something sweeter or will be sharing this with kids, I'll substitute a little Nesquick chocolate milk powder. Once you mix it thoroughly in a bowl (spoon, hands, doesn't matter.. :-) just spoon onto a plate in cookie form and stick it in the freezer overnight to harden. (PS- might want to put something on the plate so they do not stick... Maybe just a short spray of non-stick spray just to make it easier to get them off the plate)

This recipe is as healthy as you want to make it. Get better quality ingredients (i.e. organic, raw, as simple an ingredient list as possible on each item, etc), and the healthier it will be. Plus I found out the chia seeds on top are a great addition! :-)

Moving on...

Found this sign in a doctor's office, and felt it fits this blog SO well!
This is the whole concept behind my blog. Make the most of every little decision, opportunity and moment, because that is how we live a bigger life. That is how we are able to look back when we are 80 and smile.

Now it's time for... Holiday Randomness!!

I'm thankful for festive sweaters and scarves... Apparently it counters my dislike of blurry phone pictures. Ha

Creepy stalker snowman... Don't you have one?

This is what we call in Arkansas, a redneck Christmas... Merry Christmas ya'll!

This next one is a little dirty-sailor-ish in nature, but I still thought it was funny. Don't judge, I won't make a habit of bad language, but had to share!
No words needed. Ha!

And last but not least, this gem...

A married couple had been out shopping at the mall for most of the afternoon, suddenly, the wife realized that her husband had "disappeared". 
The somewhat irate spouse called her mate’s cell phone and demanded:  Where the hell are you?
Husband: Darling you remember that Jewelry shop where you saw the Diamond Necklace and totally fell in love with it and I didn't
have money that time and said Baby it'll be yours one day. 
Wife, with a smile blushing: Yes, I remember that my Love.

Husband: Well, I'm in the bar next to that shop.

If I don't post before Christmas, then let me just say...

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and God Bless!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Little Monday Pick-Me-Up!


So, I feel that Monday is sorely underappreciated, so I'm going to do a little "Ode to Monday" if you will!

Don't you think Mondays deserve a little love?

I thought this was adorable... And as you get to know me, you will find how true I feel this is. I love coffee. It's my kryptonite. God was thinking of me when he created coffee. True story.

Monday often gets such a bad rap, and why? Simply because the poor thing fell at the beginning of the work week. I constantly see things online where people are talking about how much they hate Mondays, how they wish Monday would go away, etc. But honestly, I think that is more of an issue with our mindset than with Monday itself.

A typical Monday mindset...
  • We don't want to get up early on Monday after having the weekend to relax
  • Can I please just keep hitting snooze?!?
  • OMG if that snooze goes off one more time I'm going to break my alarm/phone....
The sequence from that point forward tends to be a variation involving at least some of the following: cursing at the alarm and the day in general because you HAVE to get up with this final alarm or because you look at the clock and realize you're running late... Chase the kids/dog/husband around while trying to get everyone out the door with everything they need, INCLUDING yourself- because you're superwoman and remember everything for everyone, right?... Oh crap, you forgot your lunch because the dog peed on the carpet while waiting on you to finish cleaning up the cereal mess Timmy so lovingly left on the dining room floor... Looks like you're eating out today... Well, what about your workout? Eating out sure won't help that... But do you have time to work out? You completely forgot you had that deadline coming up tomorrow- OUCH %&*(#$^$*# I spilled my coffee!!

**Find wall, bang head, beg for Friday to come around**

Does that sound familiar? I know it often does for me. You feel like Monday hits and everything bombards you, or the vast list of things to do is looming over you, or things just won't seem to go right, or you feel unprepared to start the week up, or whatever the case may be.

The beauty of it, is that the change can be as simple of adjusting our mindset.

I started believing a long time ago in the power of self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, what you say and what your attitude is will affect the outcome of any situation. If you think or say, "I hate Mondays. Today is going to be awful, I can just tell." Well, you know what? You're right. It is going to be awful. You just made it that way. "I'm not prepared for today at all. I just can't handle the start of the work week." Let me tell you the simple truth: The week will start regardless of whether you want it to or not, because one thing in life is for sure: time goes on. 1) You can handle it, because you are a strong person who is very capable. 2) Learn from past mistakes, and prepare better. 3) I bet you're a lot more prepared than you think, so get out there and conquer the world. :-)

A Few Things to Help With Mondays:

* Prepare for the week on Sundays. Everything has its time and place, so on Sunday, spend some time relaxing where nothing invades your happy place: read, take a bubble bath, watch a movie with the family, play a game, go for a run, stretch a little, whatever takes you to your happy place. Just relax. THEN, once you feel a little better, spend an hour or so getting ready for the week: plan out lunches for the week, make sure everyone (including yourself) is aware of what events or highlights are happening during the week, etc. That way when Monday hits, you won't feel quite as overwhelmed.

* We tend to feel tired on Mondays because we sleep in over the weekend, or at least let our schedules get out of whack, and then we blame it on Monday. Studies have proven that our internal clocks are very sensitive to change, and just 1-2 days (i.e. a weekend) of deviating from your normal routine can throw off your body. It is recommended to never deviate from your normal sleeping pattern more than 90 minutes. So if you get up at 6 am during the week and then turn around and sleep until 10 with the kids/husband/dog on the weekends, how do you think that will make you feel once Monday rolls around? It's going to make Monday the most cruel S.O.B. you've ever laid eyes on.

* Welcoming Monday is a conscious decision we have to make until it becomes a permanent mindset. I look at Monday as a fresh start. WE create our own opportunities, and what is Monday if not a chance to start a fresh new week and do things right? It is an opportunity to work harder, show more love to those around you, make sure that your diet and exercise are on track this week, or maybe just make sure to get in a little "you" time this week. Monday is a chance to start fresh. Welcome Monday like it's a friend giving you another chance, another clean slate.

Look at Monday as a starting line to a great week, not as a curse that ended your weekend.

I truly believe that is one of the keys to a great week. :-)


On another note, I have been learning a lot from the blogging/fitness world, and I have been growing as both a person and an amateur blogger, so a heads up to all of you that there will be changes to come to the blog and my own personal goals as a blogger reaching out to all of you on the things that are important to both me and you... Details to come... :-)


And last but not least, it would not be my  blog if it wasn't random, so here is your dose of randomness for the day...

My mother gave me a silver pen to write on various surfaces- I don't know, it's a crafty thing and I'm all about craftiness....

Hmm... What to do with the pen first...


Oh crap... Don't sing and take a picture at the same time.
Let's try this again...

There we go!

Until next time, remember... One thing is always constant- time goes on. So are you going to choose to be prepared, hit the ground running, and come out on top of even the biggest of setbacks, or will you let *Mondays* or any other adverse scenario run you over?

Your choice... Let's do this!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Do you know your numbers?... And my smoothie escapades...

As part of my journey to better health, I decided to go in for a physical. My first one since probably the ninth grade. I felt it was important for overall health, but also because I had a half marathon I planned (notice the past tense) to run in March. Upon meeting for a follow-up with my doctor yesterday, I found out two things: 1) My cholesterol is a little high for a 24 year old, and 2) I have a very severe Vitamin D deficiency.

The cholesterol I found surprising considering I try to exercise and eat right, and do better than 80% of people I know. But that got me to thinking, and after researching and asking serveral people, I realized something: It's not that everyone has better cholesterol than me, it's that no one gets it checked until there is a problem. No one knows their numbers. All my numbers were fine, except my LDL cholesterol was 109, when the most desirable is below 100. He essentially said that those 50 pounds I'm wanting to lose? That has to come off before I do anything else. PERIOD. He said it isn't going to affect me yet, but if I stay like I am for another 10 or 15 years, that number is going to get worse. This has really made me realize just how important it truly is to focus on true health and well-being, and not just weight loss alone. I know this comes from living a life of southern fried food, a high stress lifestyle, and loving comfort food. But over the past year, I have learned the true value of eating right versus eating to diet, and my whole perspective on life and health has changed.

The Mayo Clinic as well as many other sources (including your doctor... *cough cough*) have ample information on cholesterol and other important numbers, but here are the ones I want to present to you:

Total cholesterol
U.S. and some other countries Canada and most of Europe
Below 200 mg/dLBelow 5.2 mmol/LDesirable
200-239 mg/dL5.2-6.2 mmol/L Borderline high
240 mg/dL and aboveAbove 6.2 mmol/LHigh

LDL cholesterol
U.S. and some other countries Canada and most of Europe
Below 70 mg/dLBelow 1.8 mmol/LIdeal for people at very high risk of heart disease
Below 100 mg/dLBelow 2.6 mmol/LIdeal for people at risk of heart disease
100-129 mg/dL2.6-3.3 mmol/L Near ideal
130-159 mg/dL3.4-4.1 mmol/LBorderline high
160-189 mg/dL4.1-4.9 mmol/L High
190 mg/dL and aboveAbove 4.9 mmol/LVery high

Long story short, LDL cholesterol is the bad cholesterol, and the lower it is the better. If you do not know your numbers, I would suggest seeing your doctor. Yes, you may not be sick now, but wouldn't you rather take preventative steps and live a long, happy life filled with loved ones and great experiences, than wait until there is a problem and it may be too late?

I was very happy to be able to tell the doctor that I am already on my journey for weight loss and true health, and I am solidly working out (doing CrossFit ever since the doctor restricted me from running), but I do believe I'm going to step it up after this discovery. Hence the importance of knowing your numbers.

Also, the Vitamin D deficiency... Doctors are finding more and more correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and critical illnesses, which is why testing for it is becoming more and more frequent. After the lab results showed how low mine was, I researched it and approached the doctor with a barrage of questions because I wanted to know about this inside and out. What I came away with was reenforcement for a healthy (i.e. healthier) lifestyle: Take a high concentration of Vitamin D (he gave me a prescription); take fish oil capsules (stocked with Vitamin D); get it from things such as milk, lean chicken, oily fish, and eggs; get outside and get some sunlight for at least 20 minutes a day.
Sunlight is obviously the preferred choice because the UVB rays allow the synthesis of Vitamin D3, and those are the key vocabulary words to remember when it comes to Vitamin D boys and girls: UVB NOT UVA (like you get in concentrated form from tanning beds... tanning beds will only have 6-9% UVB rays IF ANY) creates the synthesis of Vitamin D, and Vitamin D3 has been proven to be more effective for our bodies than Vitamin D2.

I am by no means a doctor, I have no certifications of any sort, and I am NOT trying to tell you what to do. But I am on a journey for better true health and quality of life, NOT a fad diet for quick weight loss. This means I want to listen to and understand my body, and this is part of it. And I wanted to pass the knowledge onto you.

Moral of the story: Get checked. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS. You never know what you could find out, what your body could be needing, or what you could be doing to improve your quality of life.

On another note: The Smoothie Escapade has started!!
Part of my journey is that I want to start incorporating smoothies into my daily (or at least weekly) routine. Someday I will write a post about the benefits, but for now just accept that it's good for you. ;-)

So far I have tried two kinds. The first was a green smoothie, because despite the fact that it's hard to get used to the idea of having various types of grass in something you're consuming, they are overwhelmingly good for you (superfood and all that jazz) and dadgummit I am BOUND AND DETERMINED to learn to like them! So with the advice and guidance of Amanda and Robyn Openshaw, I started exploring the options for my first green smoothie. Also, here and here and here are three of my favorite posts of Amanda's that have been invaluable!

I know, not a very pretty picture, but bear with me, I'm new! :-)

My first green smoothie:

* 2 cups spinach
* 1 cup milk (any kind works... I used cow's milk because I was a little scared :-)
* 1/2 tablespoon flaxseed
* 1 banana
* 1 tsp green powder
* ice

My verdict? It was ok. I think I need to warm up to the whole green smoothie taste. It tasted very fresh and cool (if that makes sense), but will definitely take some getting used to.

Sooooo.... After trying the green, I decided to go a completely different direction one morning, and try something that was packed with protein and could hold me for awhile. The result was a love child of a lot of different recipes combined with whatever I had in my kitchen and felt like throwing in.

Morning Protein Smoothie

* 1 tsp cinnamon (got the idea from Amanda, and it worked out amazingly!)
* 1/2 cup coconut milk (I like mine thick, you can adjust accordingly)
* 1 1/2 scoops protein powder (If I want it more sweet- because face it ladies, it happens- I substitute about a tbsp of Nesquick)
* 1 banana
* 1/4 cup raw organic peanut butter
* 2 tsp chia seeds (not necessary, but I like to add them when I can)
* ice

I don't care who you are, this smoothie tastes great. It stays with you, but it's not super heavy, it's packed with nutrients, and... Not gonna lie... It helps me cope with the green smoothies better. :-)

I will update as I continue my smoothie rendezvous, but for now that is all I have to report!

Everyone have a great weekend!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

At a Difficult Crossroads... Also, brighter note- Christmas Cards!!

First things first... One of my favorite things about Christmas- Christmas Cards!!! I would LOVE to send out a Christmas card to you lovely bloggers out there, so if you are cool with emailing me your mailing address, I'll send you one! I know, a little random, especially with me being fairly new to the blogging world, but I am a Hallmark fanatic (I blame it on the fact I worked there for two years... I will not touch a card that isn't Hallmark unfortunately) and love to send out Christmas cards to friends and family. A lot of you have been a big inspiration to me through your blogs, and I think snail mail is a more personal way to say thanks and send warm greetings. My email is on here, and if you can't find it, leave a comment with your email or something and I'll send it to you. I look forward to sending out some of my cute cards! :-)

Moving on...

I had an awesome post planned today about the benefits of organic eating and other diet goodies, but that will have to wait... I had a doctor's appointment today for a basic physical- You know that whole "Check with your doctor before taking on any fitness routine" shpill? Well, I actually listened. Shocker, yes.

I digress...

I talked to the doctor about the fact that am on a weight loss journey to lose a total of 100 pounds (I've lost 50, and have 50 to go- Woo Hoo!!), but I also have a half marathon in March that I'm dying to run. Basically he told me:

1) I can't lose weight and run a half marathon at the same time and expect to be successful at both. For losing weight, you are restricting your calories while doing exercises focused on overall fat loss and muscle toning. For running high mileage, you up your caloric intake in order to sustain yourself for the rigors of running the higher mileage.

2) If I start upping my mileage (I'm at 3 miles 3x a week, with a 6 mile long run on Saturdays) any more than 10% a week while I am still carrying this extra 50 pounds I want to lose, I'm at a very high risk for a stress fracture. He put it like this in the end: "I'm going to give you two options. You can take it slow, lose the weight, and then slowly build your running and forget about the medals and short time frames (see post about me loving bling) and do it safely. OR you can take the risk and go ahead and train and run, and if you end up with a stress fracture or hurt ankle, I'm putting you in a boot for 6-8 weeks. Your choice."

........ Wow doc, alright.... When you put it like that, I guess it makes a little more sense. No one likes being in a boot. And I have read posts on here from runners that have dealt with this exact scenario and end up frustrated and disappointed.

The doctor is officially recommending that I focus on losing the weight first, and THEN look at running higher mileage and racing. He said, "Why don't you do this: from here until your 25th birthday (which is August 5th, 2012 by the way), focus on losing the rest of the weight. Then make your 25th birthday the starting point for all your specific fitness goals. You want to do a marathon? Train for it. Ultra? Train for it. But until then, put your energy into losing the weight. That way it is off by 25, and you won't have to worry about it for the rest of your life."

So why then, if he made it so dadgum (yes, I said dadgum... from the South, remember?) clear to me, am I still struggling with this? My boyfriend, friends, and DOCTOR are telling me to take it much slower and lose the weight first, and yet I don't want to let go of the half marathon in March. Anyone have any insight on this? Thoughts? Have you dealt with anything like this before?

I would love to hear from voices of experience on this. I love running and can still do the 10K (which two of my best friends are actually doing the 10K) and other 5Ks and small races throughout the year, but he thinks anything more as far as mileage would be detrimental in such a short period of time. Would love some input. Thanks guys!

Random side note: I have been freezing at work for the past two weeks because the heater has not been working right in the office. This morning, I decided to be prepared today and was proud of myself for thinking ahead, and I wore a long sleeve shirt as well as a big thick sweater on top. I get to work.... They fixed the heater.

Have a great rest of the week!!

Another sidenote: Stop by RuntotheFinish and check out her Glam Headbands giveaway!